Greece Election Handouts Set

ATHENS – Some of the people hardest hit by austerity measures imposed by the government on orders of international lenders can file on April 17 for a “social dividend” being given out ahead of critical elections next month for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he would return 70 percent of a 1.4 billion euro surplus to low-income pensioners, the military and emergency service personnel to offset big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed benefits, but the government handouts are expanding.

Recipients will be able to apply via the General Secretariat of Information Systems website (www.gsis.gr) and can expect the lump sum to be deposited in their bank accounts within the first 10 days of May, just ahead of the elections in which polls show Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives are trailing the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

During a meeting at the State General Accounting Office it was decided that the handouts will be distributed to as many single-parent families as possible, along with workers who lost their jobs this year.

The sum will amount to 500 euros per unemployed worker and increase by 166.70 euros for each adult family member and 83.30 euros for every child, an infinitesimal amount compared to how much they’ve lost.

Pensioners have lost 30 percent of their lump sums, money deducted from their checks for decades and now kept by the government although the country’s highest court has ruled it unconstitutional, and will do so as well concerning pay cuts for the military and emergency workers, media reports have said..

SYRIZA said that Samaras is trying to buy the election. Greeks have lost more than 46 percent of their disposable income in the last four years but the Premier said a turnaround is on the way.